Meet Detective Constable Jen Chapman, Major Crime Unit
If you’re a fan of Luther, Morse, Broadchurch, Vera, Scott & Bailey, and the ever-growing list of British detective television programmes, we expect that you’ll have certain preconceptions of what working as a Detective entails. We recently had a catch up with Jen who works as a Detective in TVP’s Major Crime Unit to give you an insight into the realities of her role…
Who are you and what do you do?
I have been a Detective Constable (DC) in the Major Crime Unit (MCU) since 2007. I am an Enquiries Officer so I do everything from interviewing suspects, carrying out visually recorded interviews (VRI) and significant witness interviews, and general DC activities. From time to time, I am the Case Officer on an investigation, which means I get to work on it from the beginning until the end of the court case, attending case conferences, working with counsel, preparing the case for court, liaising with witnesses and carrying out court presentation.
Why did you decide to join MCU?
I always wanted to investigate murders – I was watching Morse on TV when I filled out my initial TVP application form in 1994! I still find it fascinating to find out why a murder happened, the run up to it, the roles of those involved, and ultimately why someone felt the need to kill another human being.
What do you enjoy most about working in MCU?
The variety of the job. I like getting out and about, working from different police stations and travelling around the country from time to time; I even had the opportunity to go to America once to track down a witness. I still learn something new every day. I love it when a new job comes in and we start with very little information but working as a team with intelligence, we generally get there in the end! I love the adrenaline of a new investigation and becoming totally immersed in it.
Did you know? Our colleague Jen worked on the investigation of the murder of Peter Farquhar, which has recently been converted into the ‘The Sixth Commandment’ BBC series detailing TVP’s involvement in one of the most complex criminal cases in recent memory.
How do you balance working in MCU and family life?
I am a single mum with two daughters aged 11 and 13, both of whom were born since I have been on the department. As they spend half the time with their Dad, I am able to work longer hours on the days I do not have them. If I have to leave on time to get home for the girls it’s not a problem, and equally there are times when I can work longer hours and rest days if required which all helps financially. I guess it is about give and take on both sides – working extra hours when needed, but putting the needs of my girls first when they are with me.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in MCU?
Given these are murder investigations, it is critical that we get it right. This can bring some pressure but it is so rewarding when we see convictions and justice for bereaved families.
What would you say to those considering joining TVP with the aim of working in MCU?
Do it! I actually love my job. I realise I am very lucky to find a role I enjoy so much. If you like variety, and not being micro-managed (you are treated with fairness and respect, and expected to plan your work and get it done without someone checking on you all the time), you like to learn something new every day and you like to get immersed in an investigation (or two) then this is the job for you.
What do you do outside of work?
I have a busy social life and love catching up with my friends and family. I like to keep fit – running and kettlebells. Much of my time is taken with mum duties, mainly as a taxi driver these days!
Feeling inspired and want to learn more about working as a Detective? If you hold a degree or are in your final year of your study in any field, our Detective DHEP programme could be for you.
Applications are now open, become a Detective with TVP – visit our Detective Constable page today to apply.